Recently, several tour date Websites have taken it upon themselves to determine which dates for Prong, Laura Cantrell or Dexter Grove may not be suitable for viewing by their customers. Claiming that they are only protecting their users’ interests, Websites like CleanDates.com and RighteousRoutings.net regularly snip, cut, slice and dice the schedules for such artists as Jewel and Fates Warning in an effort to remove individual dates that they have deemed “offensive” to their respective audiences.
“Those big boys in ‘Hollyweird’ who book Pearl Jam or The Isley Brothers, they have no idea how those dates are perceived by the good people of our community, says Elmer “Fuddy Duddy” Gantry, Webmaster of PureTours.com, which screens every single date for Beaver Nelson, The Blasters and Bryan Adams, and removes whatever city, state or venue that its users might find objectionable. “For example; Pato Banton & The Reggae Revolution playing in Aspen on June 20 may seem innocent enough, but when one considers the suggestive nature of the playdate, it’s enough to make even the most liberal concert-goer blush with embarrassment.”
To be sure, concert itineraries have become far more daring in recent years. Booking agents often cite a public clamoring for adult themes as the main impetus for pushing the envelope when it comes to throwing in a little gratuitous sex and violence while routing tours for Neil Young and Poison. However, social critics have pointed to the additional London date for Christina Aguilera as well as the multiple night
“They claim that scheduling shows for The Dead and The Human League is an expression of the booking agent’s ‘artistic vision,'” says William Bennett, author of the bestseller The Book Of Itinerary Virtues. “However, that’s no excuse for the naked, nubile bodies hidden behind the listing of dates for 38 Special or Waddie Mitchell. Trust me, it’s there. You can bet on it.”
Should concert schedules be censored before being delivered to the public? Or should itineraries, such as the new tours for The Midnight Evils and Jucifer, be published as the booking agent envisioned them? While no major booking agent agreed to go on record for this report, the attitude of the industry in general seems to be expressed by one concert insider who would only comment upon condition of anonymity.
“We’re only serving up what the public demands,” says the agent. “Anyone who might be offended by looking at the dates for Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica, might be better off pursuing some other form of entertainment. Like going to the movies.”